Malaria: An Overview for Pharmacists

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Welcome to this course on malaria. We hope you will find it valuable and enriching to your practice.

Malaria has plagued humanity for thousands of years, and it is even implicated in the fall of the Roman Empire. The term “Malaria” literally means “mal air” or simply “bad air”, and this is because initially, it was believed that bad smells associated with swampy areas caused the disease. Indeed, at that time, malaria was common among people living in swampy or wet areas. However, now we know that malaria, though common in swamps, is not caused by bad air but rather by a parasite named Plasmodium. Despite this, malaria continues to be a deadly disease.

In 2020 alone, 241 million new infections resulted in a staggering 627,000 deaths. And did you know that every 30 seconds, a child in Africa dies from malaria? This equates to over half a million children needlessly dying every year. As a pharmacist, you are an essential member of the healthcare workforce, with vital roles to play in preventing, caring for, and managing these malaria patients. 

This course aims to up-skill you in the topics of disease control, recognition of symptoms, treatments, management and more whilst promoting positive changes to your practice. We hope that by the end of the course, you are empowered to utilise expert knowledge to ensure your patients are provided with the best possible education and support you can give them. In doing so, you contribute positively to the global efforts to control and eliminate malaria.

Learning outcomes

By the end of this course, you will be able to:

  • Apply epidemiology and pathogenesis in the prevention and management of malaria.
  • Recognise cases of malaria in the community based on symptoms.
  • Demonstrate knowledge of antimalarial pharmacotherapy in the selection of appropriate treatment regimens.
  • Explain the role of pharmacists in the prevention and management of malaria 


The purpose of this course is not only to improve your knowledge of malaria, but we also want to actively promote lasting changes in how you practice and approach your patients who have or are at risk of the disease.
Therefore, we have specifically designed certain aspects of the content to enhance and even challenge some of your existing behaviours and motivations so that you are better equipped moving forward.
We hope to promote positive changes, with a priority on improving the following behaviours for pharmacists:
·         Offer advice, particularly around prevention, to patients through effective communication.
·         Identify complicated malaria in patients by being aware of the signs and symptoms to ensure timely and appropriate care.
·         Supply treatment and prophylaxis to patients, according to guidelines, in hospitals or community pharmacies.
·         Adhere to treatment guidelines by staying aware of local policies and developing action plans to implement.
·         Monitor response to treatment in patients by being aware of signs and symptoms and reactions to antimalarials.
·         Raise awareness in patient communities by disseminating current knowledge.
We will highlight any sections that are targeting behaviour change with a behaviour change brain icon. To get the most out of this course, we encourage you to participate fully in these sections, which may involve chances for you to reflect on what you currently do or think about the steps you can take to improve in the future.